News & Events

Grad student talk - Long-term records of ice sheet dynamics and erosion on Baffin Island

Thursday, September 17, 2009, 4:30PM - 5:30PM


Kurt Refsnider



RL-1 269

The Baffin Island landscape holds records of Laurentide Ice Sheet erosion and dynamics spanning the last 2+ Ma, allowing us to investigate processes at a variety of time scales. Glacial and proximal glaciomarine sediments deposited on coastal forelands are being used to test the regolith hypothesis for the Mid-Pleistocene Transition. This transition in the duration of glacial cycles from 40 ka to 100 ka is one of the most profound changes in Plio-Pleistocene changes, yet its cause remains enigmatic. On the interior of the island, we are studying spatial patterns of glacial erosion and subglacial water transport during more recent glacial cycle, which will in turn provide further insight into from where on the landscape the coastal glacial deposits were derived. Apparently polar bears have also become interested in some of these questions, recruiting an increasingly large number of individuals to climb around on the coastal cliffs, dig into recent glacial deposits, and chase away any Southerners caught collecting samples from the area.